Timely insight on cancer topics from the experts of the American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society Expert Voices

The American Cancer Society

Greta Greer (3 posts)  RSS

Crisis, Opportunity, Communication

November 08, 2011

By Greta Greer, MSW, LCSW

In my last blog, I provided general tips for communicating with someone diagnosed with cancer. In this blog, I talk about the added importance of good, open communication when you are caring for a loved one with cancer.

When it comes to being a cancer caregiver, I've found that caregivers often have the same questions and concerns as the person with cancer. Is he [am I] going to die? What if I can't handle this?  Where's the money coming from for treatment? Is the cancer his [my] fault? I told her to go [I know I should have gone] the doctor... stop smoking... lose weight...get a colonoscopy, mammogram, Pap smear...use sunscreen!  I'm so angry...scared...overwhelmed. Is cancer contagious?  However, both those with cancer and those who care about them may not share these concerns with one another. Why is that? More...

What to Say When Someone Has Cancer

September 20, 2011

By Greta Greer, MSW, LCSW

Nearly 12 million people living in the United States today were diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives; some are undergoing active treatment and others are living cancer free. Most of us know at least one person with cancer, but how confident are you in your ability to communicate well with someone who has recently been diagnosed or is in treatment for cancer?

Feeling insecure about how to communicate well with a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker who is facing cancer is quite common. If I only had a nickel for every time I've heard "I don't know what to say!"  And it's especially confusing if you heard about the diagnosis "through the grapevine."

Communication is challenging even in the best of circumstances. So when cancer enters the picture, lots of deep emotions and concerns take it to a new level. It raises the stakes in terms of how it can affect your relationship. Saying or doing the "wrong" thing takes on added significance to your partner, family member, or friend when they have cancer. What you don't say or do is equally important. More...

Filed Under:

Greta Greer | Survivorship

Cancer Caregivers, Don't Forget Yourselves

August 02, 2011

By Greta Greer, MSW, LCSW

Taking care of someone you love who has cancer is one of the most important roles you'll ever have. It could also be the most difficult one.

Stress is one of the most common challenges that caregivers face, especially those caring for someone with cancer. It's not easy learning to balance all your regular responsibilities, help your loved one, AND take care of your own health and well-being.  

As a result, caregivers often ignore their own physical and emotional health. It could be because they have less time, are too stressed, have less money, feel guilty for taking time for themselves, or simply forget.  Whatever the reason, it puts caregivers at much higher risk for health problems than people who aren't in a caregiving role. More...

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Caregiving | Greta Greer

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